Amsterdam’s famous red-light district became a smoke-free zone for cannabis users on May 25.
This means that cannabis consumption will not be allowed in public outdoor areas in the city centre and be limited to cannabis coffee shops. The ban applies to Dam Square, the Damrak, the Nieuwenmarkt and the Red Light District.
After years of complaints from residents about the wild behaviour of many of the 18 million annual visitors, a crackdown was enforced. Under the new rules, those smoking in public spaces in these areas will first be issued a warning. If ignored, they will be penalised with a 100-euro fine.
In February, Amsterdam’s civic body announced plans to restrict cannabis consumption in some parts of the city. While the new rules also apply to locals, the policy has primarily been to keep rowdy tourists in check.
Over the years, Amsterdam’s liberal policy on cannabis and other so-called “soft drugs,” has resulted in several neighbourhoods of the city becoming unpleasant. Large crowds who are under the influence affect the residents’ quality of life.
As of now, outdoor areas of coffee shops are excluded from the weed ban. But authorities may consider “banning smoking on terraces at coffee shops” if the problem isn’t tackled.